Looking back at my life, someone would find it hard to guess that I’m such a travel junkie.
Not hard to see why: my parents never took a plane, my brother hates to travel and not many of my closest friends have traveled extensively (other than for work reasons).
So I started questioning myself, where all this frenzy to just go and see the world comes from?
I thought about it for quite a while now, and since I left home when I was really young (just 19), I needed to find an inspirational figure back then, and no surprise, the first person that popped into my mind was one of my high school teachers: Margherita Casu.
MY FEMALE VERSION OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
I’m sure she doesn’t mind if I mention her in my blog, she is an extraordinary person and surely she was the first one to open my mind to the beauty of traveling the world (even if it was just in a really boring class room in between Kant ant Plato lessons).
She was a travel junkie like me so she would often enrich her lessons with some anecdote about her adventures around the world together with her husband. I remember her mentioning that time they took an old plane to Egypt and just risked to crash in the ocean, or that other time where they were forced to sleep on the floor in a church with no roof for a week because of some natural disaster.
Back then I didn’t realize that everyone (yeah even the little scared girl inside me) had the possibility to do what she did.
After all I was just a kid, listening to a fairy tale of a brave, intrepid woman whom I admired more than anyone else.
She was the heroin of my fantasies, the female version of Christopher Columbus. A surreal figure, not someone I could really relate to.
I think she was the one to put the first seed of wanderlust in my mind. A seed that I started nurturing since then and that, eventually, brought me where I am today: counting down the days until I’ll be finally able to set off for my very own fairy tale!
AND NOW TO MY MODERN HEROINES!
Teacher Margherita wasn’t the only person that influenced my passion for travel, during these years I met a few other extraordinary people too.
I started by moving out of my home town to at University in Turin, then Rome, and finally London, where coincidences, and like minded people, finally helped me in realizing that YES: I could sleep under a million stars, swim with sharks or see countless sunsets on a beach, and God knows what else!
Below are two of my modern heroines:
My colleague Elisa: who bravely quit her job and took off for a 5 month epic trip in South America (thank you for the travel diary you just gave me by the way! that was one of the best Christmas presents ever)
Leora Novik: another extraordinary girl who set the example for me! Back in 2011 we were colleagues at Burberry but she was in the NY office. We met when I decided to visit the Big Apple in March and she kindly helped me by keeping my new DSLR camera safe until my arrival. That same year she took off for her own dream trip around the world and opened a blog too.
That blog has also been a true inspiration for me. Her courage and enthusiasm were so contagious! every time I read about her whereabouts I can’t help but envy her braveness.
These people have been among the most important examples and inspiration for my own trip.In a way they gave me the “balls” to take a chance and they convinced me that I could do it too. Because sometimes you just need that extra little pushing to jump.
THE ART OF HAVING THE BALLS (easier said than done!)
Since I decided to leave everything behind and travel, I met so many people who were happy for me and told me “wow! I wish I could do what you did Clelia!”
I’ll be honest: every time I hear that, I feel a mix of sadness and anger, because I wish they knew that they can make it happen if they really want to!
Yes, ok. I know what you’re thinking, I’m over simplifying here.We all have responsibilities, some more than others: mortgages, children, families and so on. The so call “American dream”(valid for every western country really). I prefer to call it “The rat race”.
I know all this. I know that this is not an easy decision, but it all comes down to set your priorities in life.
And people who know me are well aware that I am no rich, my family isn’t rich either and I don’t have any kind of possession as a back up plan for when I will be back.
What about the job?
Unless you have your dream job already (in which case I truly envy you) we are all smart enough to figure something out for when we are back.
It is not the end of the world to go out and find another job right? It’s risky, I know, but its also so liberating to know that you are FREE, truly free from the 9/5 work routine , and because you chose it.
The good thing is, after a trip of this magnitude, you will probably come back with a totally different plan, or re-energized and ready to start fresher and more enthusiastic than ever!this sounds great to me.
What about the Family?
Who says that they can not travel with you? I read so many travel blogs lately and I was truly amazed to discover so many nomadic families with children out there! So it’s not that impossible after all. Sure, not easy to manage, but still not impossible.
What about the mortgage?
You can always save up for your trip and rent the house for the months you are going to be away, or exchange houses to save on the accommodation costs, or find another creative way to sort the “issue”. It can be fun after all, and certainly worth it! oh by the way, lucky you if you can afford to buy a house (I’m jealous here!)
I think that most of the people who want to travel just find excuses because let’s face it: leave it all behind, for how exciting it may seem, it’s also shit scary.
I know because I’m scared to death some times. I ask my self if I made the right decision and the answer inside me is always the same: YES I wouldn’t exchange this fear with the comfort of my “old life” for anything in the world!
But I’m digressing now. I just want to thank all the people who influenced me during these years, I will be grateful to them forever.
And, since it’s Christmas and I feel a bit sentimental, I wish courage and strength to all of you: too scared to try and live your dreams. Whatever your dreams are. I wish the same to me too of course. I need some courage to take that first plane the 10th of february and it’s getting closer and closer (freaking out mode ON)
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!